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Evangelizing the Amazon
This year a group of Brazilian youth, accompanied by a Legionary priest, brought the Gospel and their passionate hearts to a parish in Urucará, which has a population of 17,000 distributed amidst 30 communities.

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The Amazon forest has always been a synonym for adventure, an inexhaustible array of exotic animals and winding rivers and indigenous communities who have yet to experience modernity. This land is undoubtedly an exuberant example where one can feel in an up-close and personal way the magnificence of God. Above and beyond these natural wonders, the inhabitants played the decisive role in attracting a team of missionaries from Youth for the Third Millennium in Sao Paolo, Brazil. The opportunity to preach the Gospel was what really brought these young people to the largest jungle on earth. So in November of 1998 the Holy Father’s call for a new evangelization was heard and put into practice in the heart of the Amazon forest.

This year a group of Brazilian youth, accompanied by a Legionary priest, brought their passionate hearts to a parish in Urucará, which has a population of 17,000 distributed amidst 30 communities. The parish belongs to the Prelature of Italcoatiara. Established in 1963, this Prelature spreads across an area of 92,000 square kilometers and only has 8 priests.

The inhabitants are descendants of indigenous communities colonized by the Portuguese. The zone´s economic resources are extremely limited. Fishing and whatever fruit they can gather makes up their diet. Commerce has been through the barter system, in a person-to-person fashion. Stores do not exist. They have money but they only use it in their limited contact with “the city” (Urucará).

The missionaries made a 30 minute canoe trip each day to preach the good news. “The people’s happiness was truly moving” -said one of the missionaries-. Families would always come out to greet us with songs. They even composed a few especially for us. As time went on, we could see that the Holy Spirit was using us as instruments to help these souls. One of my best memories was that of a young girl who was baptized, married, received her first Communion and had her daughter baptized all within the same ceremony”.

The inhabitants were in dire need of the Sacraments because some of them had not seen a priest in years. One of the missionaries who happened to be a doctor was able to help 400 people with his services.

“What we were exactly getting ourselves into slowly opened before our eyes – one of the young Brazilians shared. The whole experience was a continual discovery of a brand new world filled with unknown traditions and life-styles that none of us had ever seen before. One day, as we were chatting with a Bishop, he told us that his diocese was so big that it took 5 day boat journey to get from one end to the other. With all this in mind we knew that the reality of evangelizing the Amazon would be the adventure of our lives”.

“The greatest need these people hunger for is that of God- another missionary stated. Yes, they have material needs but the rivers are quite generous and do provide them with enough food and water. The true urgency is that of having priests visit them more often. Most people have hears of Christ but few have had the grace to receive the sacraments regularly”.

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Evangelizadores de tiempo completo - Link
Helping Hands Medical Missions - Galeria
Evangelizing the Amazon (Brazil) - Galeria
- Helping Hands Medical Missions
- Evangelizing the Amazon (Brazil)

Related links web site
Mission Network
Our Lady of Bethesda Retreat Center and the Center for Family Development
Changing Hearts
Cancun-Chetumal Prelature
Helping Hands Medical Missions

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